I feel I would be remiss if I did not address the earlier doomsday predictions of the Mayan apocalypse. Of course, it has come and gone and we are still here. But still, I thought now would be a good time to address why we are still here.
So for starters, who were the Mayans? The ancient Mayans were central American peoples that occupied parts of present day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Their earliest settlements date back to 1800 B.C. But their classical period was between 250-900 A.D. At their peak, there were over 2 million Mayas. Today, there are still descendents of the Maya scattered among those same countries preserving the culture and speaking many different Mayan languages. *warning – future blog post – learning Mayan words*
The Mayan Long Count calendar was one of three calendars the Mayans used. December 21st, 2012 marked the end of the 13th Baktun in the Mayan Long Count calendar. The Maya divided this calendar into 13 ages, or Baktuns, each consisting of 144,000 days. Smaller cycles included the k’atun (7,200 days), tun (360 days), uinal (20 days) and kin (one day). The coming of each new Baktun was not feared, but celebrated by the people. The question, of course, remains, why did the Mayans not finish the calendar?
Archeologists have insisted that there is nothing in this date that suggests an apocalypse. Some people believe the numbers in the date were considered divine; therefore, indicating that a significant change was expected to befall Earth. While other people have proposed that the Maya simply did not get around to adding any further ages to the calendar before their civilization collapsed. Whatever their reason, it continues to remain a mystery to us.
However, the doomsday date has brought extra interest in Mayan culture, the ancient Mayan civilization and the plight of current Mayans who are the second largest ethnic group in Mexico. As well as, upped the tourist ante!! Many Mayans, Mexicans and tourists, not to mention expats, embraced the coming date as the start of a new phase or a new beginning. It’s always nice to clean the slate and start fresh. We could learn something from the ancient Mayans! Plus it makes a great t-shirt –